Shahlar is a 35-year-old man, married with two children. Shahlar has bred cattle for the last 8 years. After several attempts to find job he gave up and decided to start his business. His wife is a school teacher and her salary is too low to cover family needs. Hence, Shahlar`s business is their main financial income.
Shahlar usually buys small calves, raises and fattens them for 5-6 months and then resells for a more profitable price at the livestock bazaar. His monthly income is 60 AZN and this business is only one source of financial income for his family. Beef is in very high demand in Azerbaijan and people use it in everyday dishes like pilau and dolma. Shahlar also keeps milking cows for personal use and for selling to neighbors.
He wants to expand his business and improve life conditions of his family. He applied for a 1200 AZN loan to purchase two cows and one milking cow. He promises to pay on time without any delays.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.